Homegrown Talent/ Nathan Fillion

Hollywood leading man refuses to forget where he came from

BY EMIL TIEDEMANN

"I STUDIED to be a high school teacher in Edmonton, Alberta and I can't believe where I am right now," admitted television and movie actor Nathan Fillion, who still appreciates his humble roots. "I like to go home to Edmonton and visit my family...it's beautiful, especially in the summer, so I like to try to visit in the summer more so than in the winter," he continued in an interview with moviesonline.com.

Born in Edmonton (March 27, 1971) to a pair of English teachers, Fillion attended Holy Trinity Catholic High School before studying at Concordia University of Alberta and then the University of Alberta. It was in Edmonton that he ignited his career in acting, starting with performances with local comedy troupes and productions at the world-class Edmonton Fringe Festival. But it wasn't too long before Fillian realized he needed to head south of the border to make it big, and that's exactly what he did.

He landed some unmemorable work in small theatre shows, as well as an improvised soap opera called Die-Nasty, so packed up and tried New York City in 1994. It was in the Big Apple that Fillion snagged the part of Joey Buchanan in the long-running ABC soap One Life to Live, for which he was nominated as Outstanding Younger Actor at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

Upon his return to the West Coast, Fillion landed a supporting role in the ABC-TV sitcom Two Guys & a Girl (1998-2001), which also starred fellow Canuck Ryan Reynolds. That same year Fillion appeared in his first major motion picture, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998), with Tom Hanks and Matt Damon. He followed that up with roles in films like Blast from the Past (1999), Dracula 2000 (2000) and Water's Edge (2003), in addition to brief TV spots on Spin City (1996), The Outer Limits (1999) and King of the Hill (2001), and a 5-episode stint on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2003).

In 2002 Fillion accepted his most recognizable role up to this point, playing Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Joss Whedon's sci-fi TV series Firefly (Fox), which lasted just a single season before it was cancelled. Despite the ending of the cult hit series, Fillion parlayed the role into a feature film directed by Whedon, 2005's Serenity, though it failed to catch on either.

Since then Fillion continued TV cameos (Justice League, Lost) and smaller film roles (Slither, White Noise 2), before his award-winning appearance in the 2007 indie film Waitress (2007), with Keri Russell. That same year he starred in another failed TV project, Drive, and began an 11-episode gig on Desperate Housewives (ABC). Known for his steady voice work as well (Wonder Woman, Robot Chicken), Fillion is currently starring in ABC's TV comedy-drama series Castle, as a famed mystery novelist named Richard Castle.

Fillion, who co-founded the non-profit organization Kids Need to Read (with author PJ Haarsma in 2007), is still a rising star when it comes to Hollywood, but he clearly doesn't forget where he comes from. "...Beautiful Fringe Festival in August, so August I think will hopefully find me in Edmonton."

Filmography:
1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
2. Blast from the Past (1999)
3. Dracula 2000 (2000)
4. Alligator Point (2003/TV)
5. Water's Edge (2003)
6. Hollywood Division (2004/TV)
7. Outing Riley (2004)
8. Serenity (2005)
9. Slither (2006)
10. White Noise 2: The Light (2007)
11. Waitress (2007)
12. Trucker (2008)
13. Wonder Woman (2009/V)

Check out Nathan Fillion's TV Interview with The New York Post's 'Pop Wrap'

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